SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE 173
efforts at refoftn, with the best of Intentions, have proved unsuccessful*
To look at It kindly, nepotism is no worse than favouritism of other sorts* A minister does not place only his nephews In the ministry, but he also has to place the nephews of other high officials. If they are high enough3 who write him letters of recommendation. Where Is he going to place them, except In sinecure posts and uadvisorshipss? The economic pressure and the pressure of overpopulation are so keen, and there are so many educated men who can write literary essays but who cannot repair a carburettor or set up a radio, that every new public organ or every official assuming a new post Is dally flooded with, literally, hundreds of letters of recommendation. It is quite natural, therefore, that charity should begin at home. For the family system must be taken as the Chinese traditional system of Insurance against unemployment. Every family takes care of Its own unemployed, and having taken care of Its unemployed, its next best work Is to find employment for them. It is better than charity because It teaches in the less lucky members a sense of Independence, and the members so helped In turn help other members of the family. Besides, the minister who robs the nation to feed the family, either for the present or for the next three or four generations, by amassing half a million to ten million or more dollars/ Is only trying to glorify his ancestors and be a "good" man of the family. Graft3 or "squeeze/3 may be a public vice5 but is always a family virtue* As all Chinese are fairly "good" men, so, as Ku Hungmln!g says, the commonest conjugation in Chinese grammar Is that of the verb "to squeeze": "2 squeeze,you squeeze^ he squeezes; we squeeze,you squeeze^ they squeeze" It is a regular verb.
And so, strange as it may seem, Chinese communism breeds Chinese Individualism, and family-defined co-operation results In general kleptomania with an altruistic tinge to it. Kleptomania can go safely with the greatest personal honesty and
11 allow myself to mention only the dead as examples. General Wang Chanyiian, Governor of Hupeh, was worth about thirty millions; General Wu Chunsheng, Governor of Heilungkiang, was even richer, holding vast tracts of realty that would be difficult to estimate. God alone knows how much Tang Ytilin of Jehol fame was worth. He is still ah" ve.